Novel coronavirus may exist for a long time: expert

Thursday, 2020-02-20 14:49:30
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A staff member disinfects a vehicle used for transferring medical waste at a medical waste disposal company in southwest China's Chongqing, Feb. 19, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
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It is possible that the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) may exist for a long time like the flu, said a Chinese respiratory specialist.

In 2003, SARS disappeared as quickly as it emerged. Will COVID-19 be any different?

In an interview with China Central Television Wednesday (February 19) night, Wang Chen, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said since SARS has strong transmissibility and pathogenicity, it is hard for the virus to survive and continue to spread among people. If the virus kills the host, it too perishes.

However, it is possible that COVID-19 many turn into a long-standing disease like influenza, said Wang.

"We must be prepared for that," said Wang, emphasizing the need to study the biological characteristics of the virus, and make corresponding arrangements in clinical prevention and treatment, as well as other preventive measures in production and our daily lives.

He stressed the important role of scientific research in understanding COVID-19 and the prevention and control of the virus.

* As of Wednesday, a total of 32,395 medical workers have been sent to Hubei Province, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, to join in the battle against the virus.

The medics have been dispatched in 278 teams from across the country, Mi Feng, spokesperson for the National Health Commission, said at a press conference Thursday (February 20) in Beijing.

* China reported 394 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 114 deaths on Wednesday from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

Among the deaths, 108 were in Hubei Province and one in Hebei, Shanghai, Fujian, Shandong, Yunnan and Shaanxi, respectively. Another 1,277 new suspected cases were reported Wednesday.

* China's daily number of newly cured and discharged novel coronavirus patients has surpassed that of new confirmed infections for a second consecutive day.